Private Hearing Aids: What You Need to Know

Going private for your hearing system gives you access to a greater range of technology and styles, including modern designs and up-to-date technology. Going private is generally more convenient, enjoys shorter waiting times, is driven by you (the consumer) and not the NHS policy makers.

Although properly regulated, standards vary from practice to practice… and that’s where AIHHP come in.

First a bit of background…

Hearing aids were available privately in the UK long before the NHS came on the scene. Private providers receive no help from the Government, so they are responsible for funding all their own premises, equipment and staff, and must somehow make people aware of their services (marketing).

private hearing aids in the UK

Advantages of Going Private

Properly regulated by Government

If opt for private hearing aids you will be protected by all the normal consumer laws, but you will also have the assurance that the Profession is under the watchful eye of the Hearing Aid Council, the regulatory body set up by Parliament in 1968.

The Hearing Aid Council keeps a register of everyone in the UK licensed to dispense hearing aids privately. In order to stay on the register, hearing aid audiologists must pass strict examinations and adhere to a strict code of practice, which deals with professional standards of competence and ethics.

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Hearing Technology Not Available on the NHS

The NHS are limited to a few models from one or two main suppliers. By contrast, the private sector has access to all the manufacturers of hearing aids available in the UK. These hearing aid manufacturers are in constant competition with one another to win market share, so it means they are constantly updating their product portfolio with new technology.

This is good news for you, the consumer, because the only way these manufacturers can win market share is to produce improvements to technology to continue to adequately supply a demanding public.  The NHS, obviously benefits from these improvements but they do not see the benefit for a number of years, by which time there is a raft of newer technology in the private sector.

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Up-to-date technology, based on the latest research

The major hearing aid manufactures pump vast sums of money into research and development, often liaising with universities and other research institutions who are looking at how human hearing functions and how it can be mimicked with digital technology.

These manufacturers are constantly looking at ways to improve speech clarity and suppress background noise, as soon as they have something groundbreaking it is released to the private sector. When you go private you automatically gain access to this new technology.

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Choice of styles, including cosmetically attractive

It’s no good having clever technology for your hearing, if you don’t like to wear it because it looks ugly! The private sector knows this more than anyone, and offers a choice of styles to suit almost everyone:

  • Behind-the-ear models in futuristic designs or hair-tone colours.
  • Custom-built in-the-ear models.
  • Groundbreaking slim tube devices.
  • Spectacle hearing aids.

Again, the advantage of going private is that you are given choice. After all, if it suits you, you’re more likely to use it, which can only be good.

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Motivated by customer demand, not Government targets

The private sector would not exist if it weren’t for you, the consumer. And consumers need to be kept happy, otherwise they won’t keep coming back! This means that the private sector must always be looking at ways to improve what they do, or risk losing you to one of their competitors! This puts you, the consumer, in a very strong position.

By contrast, the NHS do not have to keep you happy, they have to meet Government targets.

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Shorter Waiting Times

The private sector will often be able to have you up and running with a new hearing system within weeks.

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You want to get the most out of your investment

If you are unhappy with your NHS hearing aids, they haven’t cost you anything so you may feel what do I expect for something that’s free? If you purchase private hearing aids you are more inclined to ensure that they work well for you, you also have the benefit of review and fine tuning appointments, to ensure you are making the most of your hearing aids.  Most private suppliers of hearing aids offer a 30-60 day moneyback guarantee, which can provide you with peace of mind, that if you do not enjoy the benefit of the hearing aids you have the opportunity for redress.

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The private supply of hearing aids offers many advantages over taking the NHS route, but beware! There will be significant variation in technology and service levels available across the different private providers of hearing aids. That is why AIHHP is so important: to help you avoid the pitfalls.